Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him. (Psalm 33:1)
For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope. When you call me, and come and pray to me, I will listen to you. When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me. (Jeremiah 29:11-14)
I delight to do your will, my God; your law is in my inner being!” (Psalm 40:9)
The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me; He has sent me to bring good news to the afflicted, to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, release to the prisoners, To announce a year of favor from the LORD. (Isaiah 61:1-2)
The LORD is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack. In green pastures he makes me lie down; to still waters he leads me; he restores my soul. He guides me along right paths for the sake of his name. (Psalm 23:1-3)
Sing a new song to the LORD, for he has done marvelous deeds. His right hand and holy arm have won the victory. (Psalm 98:1)
As we look at the past year, even if it may have included sickness, suffering or the loss of a loved one, we can still “sing joyfully to the Lord” (Psalm 33:1), because we know God is all-good, all-wise, and all-loving. Even though we don’t always see or understand what he is doing, we know it is good and loving and wise. We also know that one day we will understand completely, when we are with him in heaven.
Now is the time to also sing joyfully about what you hope and expect him to do in this new year. God has plans for your life. His plans for you are “for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). So tell the Lord that above everything else, you want to do his will (Psalm 40:9), and tell him that you say yes to his plan for your life, whatever it may be. No matter what age you are, it’s never too late to say yes to all that he has in store for you.
Ask the Lord to give you a word, or phrase, or Scripture passage, or even a song to give you direction for the year. Perhaps he wants to tell you that 2012 will be a year when he anoints you to “bring good news to the afflicted, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, release to the prisoners” (Psalm 61:1). Perhaps, he wants to “announce” to you that 2012 will be “a year of favor from the LORD” for you and your family. Whatever his will and plan is for you, tell him that you are willing to do it.
Take some time now to write down what you want to thank the Lord for. Also, jot down your hopes, dreams, desires for this year. What do you love to do? Do it intentionally every day, using the talents God has given you. Tell the Lord, “This is for you, O God!”
The Lord is the Good Shepherd, who loves you and leads you (Psalm 23:1-2). He will guide you “along right paths” (23:2). They are the paths he has planned for you. And, perhaps, he will give you a new song to sing along the way (Psalm 98:1).
“Father, I put my trust in you and your great love for me. I want to say yes to your plan for my life in 2012. I want to be more attentive to you and other people, so that I may know your will and show your compassion and mercy to others!”
Many thanks to The Word Among Us for allowing me to adapt meditations in their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission.
Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men
- Take some time to meditate and reflect on the Scriptures at the beginning of the article. What do you think God is trying to reveal to you through them?
- The article begins with these words: “As we look at the past year, even if it may have included sickness, suffering or the loss of a loved one, we can still ‘sing joyfully to the Lord’ (Psalm 33:1), because we know God is all-good, all-wise, and all-loving. Even though we don’t always see or understand what he is doing, we know it is good and loving and wise.” What about you, are you able to sing joyfully to the Lord for 2011? Why or why not?
- The article quotes Jeremiah 29:11, which says that God’s plans for you are “for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.” In what ways has this been true for you?
- The article goes on to encourage you to “Ask the Lord to give you a word, or phrase, or Scripture passage, or even a song—to give you direction for the year.” What is your sense, in general or specific terms, of what God’s plan’s are for you for 2012? Have you received any Scriptures to confirm this?
- Are there any obstacles or fears in your life that you need to overcome before you can wholeheartedly say yes to God’s plan for your life? What steps can you take to overcome them?
- Take some time now to pray for the grace to say yes to God’s plan for your life and to trust in his great love for you and all your loved ones. Use the prayer at the end of the article as the starting point.
Maurice Blumberg is the Director of Partner Relations for The Word Among Us Partners, a ministry of The Word Among Us to the military, prisoners, and women with crisis pregnancies or who have had abortions. Maurice was also the founding Executive Director of the National Fellowship of Catholic Men, for which he is currently a Trustee. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.